The automatic transmission has come a long way. From the modern automatic’s debut in the ’40s to today, transmissions have added more speeds, more sophisticated electronic controls, tighter tolerances, and much higher performance, to the point where today’s automatics are often a more compelling performance choice than manuals, if viewed from a strictly objective standpoint. Those six decades of continuous development have culminated in a 10-speed automatic transmission that will debut in the 2017 Ford F-150 equipped with the 3.5L EcoBoost engine.
Also about to be relegated to the history books is the iconic “PRNDL” or “PRND321” display. The transmission selector display on the new F-150 will display all 10 gear ratios, giving the driver a real-time display of what gear the transmission is in. The transmission, which was codeveloped with General Motors and a version of which will also be utilized in the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, is the first transmission from Ford not to use any cast-iron components.
Other features of the transmission include an integrated torque converter and turbine clutch for packaging and weight savings and an integrated electric fluid pump ensures responsive performance with the standard auto stop-start system. Ford previously announced a $1.4 billion investment in its Livonia, Michigan, transmission plant to build the new transmission, which is expected to ultimately be widely used throughout Ford’s rear-wheel-drive vehicles, including the Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, and Ford Mustang.